By Linda Girard, an EO Detroit member and CEO of Pure Visibility, Inc.
One often-overlooked aspect when an entrepreneur is choosing a company name is the domain name that best fits the company name. First, of course, is the simple question as to whether or not the domain name is available. Next, you need to look at it from your customerʼs point of view. Will it be easy to remember and share? If it is, the Google gods will take notice and add this as a positive sign that could bring better visibility in the search engine results. Here are some other tips we followed when it comes to choosing the right name for our company.
Conduct Keyword Research: When we were looking for the perfect business name six years ago, we did a lot of research using keyword tools to help us understand which words people used most to find our services. The perfect combination came to me as I was driving back from a client meeting, and I rushed in the door to check if the domain was available. It was, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I would do the same thing today (in addition to looking at social media metrics) to help decide the appropriate name for a new business. Why? Because taking great care when selecting both your company and domain names is not only important for branding, but also for findability and visibility in the search engines. When you have a domain name that accurately describes your business, your online visibility climbs.
1. Identify Keyword Themes: After spending some time researching keywords, consider using one or more of those words in your business name. Of course, you probably have discovered that more than
one search term applies to your business. Look for themes among the keywords. Do you sell multiple products (or services) that can be summed up by a core theme? Google appreciates Web sites based on themes,
and if you start applying the theme in the domain name itself, it can help you in search engine results.
2. Check Out the Domain Name: After you have a list of possible business and domain names, see which domain names are available. Is your business domain name already taken? Drat! You really want it! Or do you? Domain names are really only valuable when they are “clean.” Before you put down an offer to purchase that domain name, run a link check on it to make sure it does not have a shady background.
There are times when people will build linking strategies in the wrong online “neighborhoods,” and if this is a domain that was previously used for this purpose, it may need to be cleaned up, which could take many hours. You would need to locate all the bad links, remove them and their tentacles, then build up the good links to overcome the bad link history. To find out if you might be facing this situation, use one of these link checking tools:
3. Finalize Your Choice: After you have narrowed down your selection, research your competition … that is, the search engine results page competition for that special key phrase for which you absolutely must be visible. Can you envision how your listing will appear within these results? Is your competition well-optimized for keyword themes and are their sites easy to use? If you also put up a
well-optimized and easy to use Web site, will it beat your competition?
So, to summarize:
- Choosing the right words are important! Use a keyword analysis tool, such as GoogleInsights, to identify which words people use to find your product or service. Then try to work these words into your
company name. Also use social media metrics accumulated from Tweetdeck or Twitter to understand how your target market is discussing your service or product in “natural” (customer-oriented)
language. Look for a core theme among the keywords you discover. Try to work that theme, or a strong keyword, into your business name and domain name.
- Check to see which of the domain names you are considering are available. How healthy are the links that point to your chosen domains? Run a link check to confirm that a domain name you might purchase is a clean one.
- How do you compare to the competition … not the ones you typically think of, but your online competition for those critical keywords, instead. How are they doing what they are doing, and can you beat them With a little bit of homework, you could save yourself many search engine visibility issues and really focus on building your new business!